HOOLA VAN NOOTEN, Berthe (1840-1885)
Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de la flore et de la pomone de l' Ile de Java peints d'après nature par Madame Berthe Hoola van Nooten. Troisieme edition
Brussels and Leipzig: Librairie Européenne C. Muquardt, [No date on title, but with a foreword dated 1880]. Folio. (21 7/8 x 15 3/4 inches). Half-title, title, dedication to the Queen of the Netherlands and foreword in French, parallel text in French and English. 40 chromolithographed plates by P. Depannemaeker after Hoola van Nooten.
Original printed paper boards, rebacked and recornered to style.
Third, and improved edition of this magnificent display of spectacular Javanese fruits and flowers, their bright colours ideally suited to the then new technique of chromolithography. 'Europeans who beheld these plants for the first time... could not but have been moved to wonder and amazement' ('Oak Spring Flora')
Berthe Hoola van Nooten (1840-1885), a latter-day Maria Sibylla Merian, produced the present work as a heroic response to circumstances which left her on Java, a widow in her early twenties with a family to support and little money, certainly not enough to pay for her family's passage home to Belgium. 'Aware of the vogue in Europe for exotic flora, she decided to take advantage of her enforced exile and put to use the skill at flower painting that she had no doubt acquired as a girl. Thus she prepared forty magnificent plates for Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de l'Ile de Java... [van Nooten] was clearly a more than competent artist, for the splendid tropical plants, with their lush foliage, vividly coloured flowers and exotic fruit, have been depicted with great skill. She managed to accentuate the splendour of each species by adopting a style that combined great precision and clarity with a touch of neo-Baroque exuberance, revelling in the rich forms and colours of the tropics. The reader's eye is immediately captured by the dark leaves, shown furled or crumpled or partly nibbled away by insects, the delicately rendered details of the follicles and seeds, and the heavy clusters of flowers that cascade down the page. The excellent reproduction of the artist's drawings in the form of chromolithographs lends an added tactility to these striking images' (Oak Spring Flora) The work consists of a lithographed dedication (in rhyme) to the Queen of the Netherlands. This is followed by a preface in which the author hints at the tragic personal circumstances which led her to seek a publisher for the work, and the forty plates, each of which is accompanied by detailed text in French and English giving a description as well as occasional information on the plants' culinary, medical, religious and other uses. The plates depict a mixture of indigenous, naturalised and introduced plants and include shrubs, flowering trees and, perhaps the most striking of all, 16 portraits of plants with edible fruits: pomelo, rambutan, mangosteen, custard-apple, bread-fruit, mango, bananas, star-fruit and papaya amongst others.
Great Flower Books (1990) p. 103; Landwehr 80; Nissen BBI 93; Oak Spring Flora 87; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 3025.